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Complete solution gives safety to the Jarlsberg tunnel

Safety levels in the Jarlsberg tunnel on the Norwegian Vestfold line are high. A redundant system based on an architecture using tried and tested products from Beijer Electronics is used to manage and monitor the electricity supply and safety functions in the 1,750 meter long tunnel.

Trains on Norway's Vestfold line have been running through the Jarlsberg tunnel since November. In the new rail tunnel, the electricity supply, along with safety functions such as emergency lighting and fans, is controlled by a PLC-based system built entirely of products from Beijer Electronics.

A solid requirements list

Mats Karlsson, project manager at Aventi Technology AS, talks of significant freedom in the detailed design.

"Three separate fiber rings, redundant PLC models and duplication of things like the power supply create a solution to satisfy demanding reliability requirements."

Rune Bårdsen Røer, who is a construction manager at the Norwegian National Rail Administration with responsibility for electrical and telecommunications installations, confirms that safety always comes top of his list - with stability second:

"My impression of this system is very positive. Our priority is for a safe and stable solution. If the costs are reasonable too, that's a bonus."

As specialists in control systems for vehicles, transport systems, energy and environmental applications and oil and gas, Aventi Technology has previously developed and supplied similar solutions for road tunnels. In this project, they were engaged by YIT, which was the principal contractor for the electrical and telecommunications systems in the tunnel.

Mats Karlsson appreciates the way Beijer Electronics took a very active role in the work on the Jarlsberg tunnel. Apart from delivering all the necessary hardware on schedule, he recalls the support they provided during the project.

A flying start to the project

"Beijer Electronics presented us with a detailed system plan. We found the technical solution very appealing, and by basing our plans on this, we saved a lot of time."

At Beijer Electronics, Erling R. Aas looks after contacts with infrastructure customers. He sees industry know-how and a comprehensive product range as his most important sales arguments:

"In this project, we are responsible for all components, and the delivery includes products from all business areas: automation, HMI and industrial data communications."

Tried and tested infrastructure solution

Apart from the Jarlsberg tunnel, Beijer Electronics has supplied other Nordic rail and tunnel-building projects. These include the City Tunnel in Malmö in southern Sweden and the 190-kilometer Bothnia line, which is the largest Swedish rail-building project in modern times.

"Membership of the TransQ supplier register makes it easier for the transport sector to do business with us. Customers can be sure that we will meet the qualification requirements," says Erling R. Aas.

The control and monitoring solution for the Jarlsberg tunnel is based on a number of leading products. Fan control, high-voltage power (24 kV) and low-voltage circuits for things like signals and switch heaters are managed in separate networks. The three fiber based network rings support two-way communication, which makes them fail-safe.

Gigabit capacity gives the field bus more than enough performance to handle peak traffic, both now and in the future. Along with high communication speeds, the thin and easy-to-install optical fiber has the advantage of being insensitive to electromagnetic interference.

Security on several levels

The PLC-based solution comprises a total of 42 CPUs. The choice of Beijer Electronics' modular PLC series MELSEC Q provides for both performance and reliability.

Redundancy is achieved by connecting the PLC units in pairs. With two identically configured CPUs, the reserve unit is always ready to take over. This duplication also allows I/O modules to be debugged, repaired and replaced without disrupting other functions.

But it was not just help with system design that made Aventi Technology choose Beijer Electronics as a supplier and partner:

"The price was right, and we felt confident that the proposed hardware was optimized to work together," says Mats Karlsson, who also sees the complete package, saving the trouble of searching for complementing products, as a plus.

With the aid of remote terminal units, the tunnel is linked to the overall system. Duplicate RTUs maintain the contact.

The IP-based data transfer to and from the overall system uses the standard IEC 60870-5-104 protocol, and the RTUs and Ethernet switches are also obtained from the Beijer Electronics range.

Intuitive HMI makes life easier

All functions in the tunnel can of course be controlled, debugged and restarted locally by staff on site. This is done via a total of nine graphical iX operator panels mounted in and on the switching cabinets.

Beijer Electronics' innovative HMI solution iX makes for intuitive menu systems and dialogs. Mats Karlsson tells how Aventi Technology drew up the interface and progressively refined the design with the Norwegian National Rail Administration, which came back with comments.

"The iX Developer tool, and support from Beijer Electronics, made it much easier to create a solution to satisfy the customer's needs and wishes."

Mats Karlsson speaks of a challenging, enjoyable and intense project from end to end. In order for the new stretch of track to be linked to the Vestfold line, rail traffic had to be suspended for six weeks. The new track crossed the old in three places, so traffic could not be maintained in this period.

"During the installation phase, we worked really long days," he says, while stressing that the whole project lasted just over six months.

A successful end-result

Rune Bårdsen Røer from the Norwegian National Rail Administration is satisfied with the end result. He is taking the opportunity to add to the requirements list for control systems. After safety and stability, he ranks maintenance aspects highest.

"It is important for the applied products to be readily available and in stock."

Mats Karlsson and Erling R. Aas are also satisfied with the delivery. Much experience has been gained, and the hope is that it can be used in future infrastructure projects such as the continued modernization of the Vestfold line.

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